Ethnic Voices Poetry Series

2009-2010 Series

Missouri Arts CouncilPartially supported by funding from the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.

Books by all poets are available in the University Book Store.


September 30, 2009
6:00 reception, 6:30 reading
Book signing follows
Kansas City Library
14 W. 10th Street
Kansas City, MO

Heid E. Erdrich

Heid E. Erdrich has published three collections of poetry, The Mother's Tongue and Fishing for Myth, and National Monuments (Oct. 2008) as well as co-edited (with Laura Tohe) Sister Nations: Native American Women on Community. She has also authored a play, Curiosities: a Play in Two Centuries which was given a staged reading as part of the Alternate Visions series at Pangea World Theater in 2005. A member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe, she was raised in Wahpeton, North Dakota where her parents taught at the Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school. She co-founded the Turtle Mountain Writing Workshop and Birchbark House, a non-profit indigenous language and literature clearinghouse, with Louise Erdrich, her sister. Her books have each been nominated for the Minnesota Book Awards, and her writing has received numerous grants and honors. Her degrees are from Dartmouth College and The Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars.


Heid Erdrich with Dr. Jane Wood
at the Kansas City Public Library


Excerpt from "She Dances"

by Heid Erdrich

But I once dreamed my friend a dress:
one in slipping honey colors of satin
with black bands. Its music came with
its cones jangling and flashing near each
flower-print cloth outfit then on to the next.
And now I dream her another dress,
the one for labor, a traditional: deep blue,
the midnight wool blue shot with red
that all her ancestors would recognize,
the heavy dress of history,
the one made of flags
and ration blankets and blood.

Angela Elam, Heid Erdrich, Virginia Brackett for
New Letters on the Air Interview


October 22, 2009
6:30 reception, 7:00 reading
Book signing follows
Herr House Lounge
Park University

The Latino Writers Collective, is a group of Latino writers living and working in the Kansas City metropolitan area with long-distance members in Arkansas, California, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Texas. The Collective helps hone and polish the work of its members for publication. In addition to creative support, the Collective organizes and coordinates projects for the larger community, such as the Primera Página, Segunda Página, Tercera Página, and Cuarta Página Reading Series to showcase national and local Latino writers and provide role models and instruction to Latino youth. The mission of the Latino Writers Collective is to foster an environment where the voices of Latino students, blue collar workers, professionals, and homemakers can finally be heard, contributing their experience and vision to the larger community.

The Collective’s anthology of poetry, Primera Página: Poetry From the Latino Heartland (Scapegoat Press), was published in 2008. It has received much national attention, including reviews in Bloomsbury Review, La Bloga, and Critical Mass: the Blog of the National Book Critics Circle. Primera Página won 2nd place in poetry for both the International Latino Book Awards and the Eric Hoffer Book Awards and was a finalist in poetry for the USA BookNews Award and in anthology for the ForeWord Magazine Book Award. They were also named Best of Kansas City 2008 by The PITCH for their festive, entertaining readings and events.

The Collective’s new anthology of fiction, Cuentos: Stories From the Latino Heartland (Scapegoat Press), was just published. Noted novelist Rolando Hinojosa writes, “This is a fine example of what Latino writing offers to the body of American literature, a fresh literary viewpoint from yet another quarter in the United States.”


November 30, 2009
7PM reading and reception
Book signing follows
The Writers Place
3607 Pennsylvania Ave.
Kansas City, MO 64111-2820

Maria Melendez, the new editor/publisher for Pilgrimage magazine and lives in Pueblo, Colorado. She has taught creative writing and American literature at Utah State University and Saint Mary's College in Notre Dame, IN. Her work in community outreach and education includes five years as a poet-teacher in K-12 classrooms with California Poets in the Schools, and three years as writer-in-residence at the UC Davis Arboretum, where she taught environmental writing workshops for the public. Her poetry collection How Long She'll Last in This World (University of Arizona Press, 2006), received Honorable Mention at the 2007 International Latino Book Awards and was named a finalist for the 2007 PEN Center USA Literary Awards. Flexible Bones, her third collection of poetry, is forthcoming from the University of Arizona Press in 2010.


March 2 , 2010
6:00 reception, 6:30 reading
Book signing follows
Kansas City Library
14 W. 10th Street
Kansas City, MO

Carter Revard has lived in St. Louis since 1961, when he began teaching in the English Department at Washington University. Born in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, he is Osage on his father's side and grew up on the Osage Reservation, in the Buck Creek Valley east of Pawhuska, where he graduated from a one-room school, serving as janitor as and greyhound trainer, as well as farm hand. He graduated from Bartlesville College-High, winning a radio quiz scholarship to the University of Tulsa, then a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford, and completed the Ph.D. at Yale before teaching at Amherst College where he brought culture across the Hudson and offered some to Robert Frost. He was given his Osage name in 1952 and in the 1970s became a Gourd Dancer after helping found the American Indian Center of St. Louis, serving on its Board in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1973, during the Spring Break at WU, he went inside Wounded Knee, then under siege by US Marshals and Special Forces, to visit his Ponca cousins there and take in some tunafish and Coca Cola. They were leaders of the American Indian Movement who at the time were dodging bullets; two of the occupying Indians were killed, but not his Ponca cousins, and Revard had to get back to teaching the second half of his Chaucer course. He was also a member of the Board of the River Styx Organization and helped its leaders arrange some great poetry readings at Duff's over the years. In 1997 he retired from teaching American Indian and medieval English literature, but continues to write, publish, lecture and give poetry readings in the U.S. and abroad. A number of his poems appeared recently in the British journal Stand (2007-8), including "Living in the Holy Land," composed for and read at the finale of the Lewis and Clark Commemoration at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis in September 2006. In September 2008 he gave readings in England and Hungary, and read poems in 2009 at Hartwick College, NY; the Osage Cultural Center in Pawhuska, OK; and lectured and read in Norwich, England.

Revard with Dr. Emily Donnelli and freshmen Honors students

His books include Ponca War Dancers (poems, 1980), Cowboys and Indians, Christmas Shopping (poems, 1992), An Eagle Nation (poems, 1993), Family Matters, Tribal Affairs (essays, 1998), Winning The Dust Bowl (poems and memoirs, 2001), and How The Songs Come Down (poems, 2005). Some translations from medieval French have appeared in The Chaucer Review in 2004 ("The Wife of Bath's Grandmother" in heroic couplets) and 2005 ("Four Fabliaux" in tetrameter couplets), and in Revue Belge De Philologie Et D'histoire ("A Goliard's Feast and the Metanarrative of Harley 2253").

"What the Eagle Fan Says"

A poem by Carter Revard

I strung dazzling thrones of thunder beings
on a spiraling thread of spinning flight,
beading dawn's blood and blue of noon
to the gold and dark of day's leaving,
circling with sun the soaring heaven
over turquoise eyes of Earth below
her silver veins, her sable fur,
heard human relatives hunting beneath
calling me down, crying their need
that I bring them closer to Wakonda's ways,
and I turned from heaven to help them then.
When the bullet came it caught my heart,
the hunter's hands gave Earth its blood,
loosened light beings, and let us float
toward the sacred center of song in the drum,
but fixed us first firm in tree-heart
that green knife-dancers gave to men's knives,
ash-heart in hiding where a deer's heart had beat,
and a one-eyed serpent with silver-straight head
strung tiny rattles around white softness
in beaded harmonies of blue and red --
now I move lightly in a man's left hand,
above dancing feet follow the sun
around old songs soaring toward heaven
on human breath and I help them rise.

This poem offers thanks for the honor of being given eagle feathers which were then set into a beaded fan. It tells how the eagle in flight pierces clouds just as a beadworker's needle goes through bead or buckskin, spiraling round sky or fan-handle -- and how the eagle flies from dawn to sunset, linking day and night colors as they are linked on a Gourd Dancer's blanket (half crimson, half blue), and as they are linked in the beading of the fan's handle. The poem's form is the alliterative meter used by the Anglo-Saxon tribes, and its mode is the Anglo-Saxon 'riddle,' in which mysterious names are given to ordinary things: here trees are green light-dancers, wood is tree-heart or ash-heart, clouds are thrones of thunder-beings. I hope the one-eyed serpent will find its name in the reader's memory.


March 24, 2010
6:30 reception, 7:00 reading
Book signing follows
Park University
The McCoy Meetin' House

C. Dale Young was born in the Caribbean and educated in Florida with both an M.F.A. and an M.D. from the University of Florida. He now practices medicine in the San Francisco Bay Area, edits poetry for New England Review, and teaches in the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. Young is a fascinating poet by any standard. Formally, his rich, arresting imagery, sensuous language, and revelry in the natural world seem quite similar to that of William Carlos Williams, Emily Dickinson, or William Wordsworth. Young’s poetry also exhibits post-colonial tensions, where the poet, who was formerly an insider, now returns home from self-imposed exile only to feel at once attached and estranged.


C. Dale Young with New Letters on the Air interviewer and editor of New Letters, Robert Stewart
Read poetry by C. Dale Young


April 7, 2010
6:30 reception, 7:00 reading
Book signing follows
Park University
The McCoy Meetin' House

John Murillo is an Afro-Chicano poet and playwright who is a two time Larry Neal Writers’ Award winner, a New York Times Poetry Fellow, and Cave Canem alum. A recent graduate of New York University’s MFA program in creative writing, his poetry has appeared in such publications as Ploughshares, Ninth Letter, Lumina, and the anthology, DC Poets Against the War. A former instructor with DCWritersCorps and coach of Washington D.C.’s 2001 and 2005 National Teen Poetry Slam Teams, John has performed his own work in a wide array of venues, from the Kennedy Center to the Bowery Poetry Club. This fall, he begins his residency as a Creative Writing Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. His first book will be published in February, 2010.

Read three poems by Murillo

See Murillo in performance on his MySpace page


May 12, 2010
6:30 reception, 7:00 reading
Book signing follows
The Writers Place
3607 Pennsylvania Avenue
Kansas City, MO 64111-2820
(816) 753-1090

Diane Glancy is professor emeritus at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she taught Native American Literature and Creative Writing. She was the 2008-09 Visiting Richard Thomas Professor of Creative Writing at Kenyon College. Glancy was awarded a 2003 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and the 2003 Juniper Poetry Prize from the University of Massachusetts Press for PRIMER OF THE OBSOLETE. Her 2009 books are THE REASON FOR CROWS, a novel of Kateri Tekakwitha, SUNY Press, and PUSHING THE BEAR, After the Trail of Tears, University of Oklahoma Press. In 2007, Arizona published a collection of poems, ASYLUM IN THE GRASSLANDS. Her 2005 books are ROOMS: New and Selected Poems, Salt Publishers, IN-BETWEEN PLACES, essays, University of Arizona Press, and THE DANCE PARTNER, Stories of the Ghost Dance, Michigan State University Press. Glancy’s novels include STONE HEART: a novel of Sacajawea, Overlook Press, THE MAN WHO HEARD THE LAND, Minnesota Historical Society Press, DESIGNS OF THE NIGHT SKY, University of Nebraska Press, and PUSHING THE BEAR, the 1838-39 Cherokee Trail of Tears, Harcourt Brace. She received a 2009 Expressive Arts Grant from the Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. to write a play on the history of Indian education. Glancy is of German / English and Cherokee heritage.

Her head small as a pecan.
Her body large as husks from corn.
Hi hey ya
hey yo.
She speaks in dreams.
Through narrow channels of the prairie
a stream of sheep pass into her head.
She tends them on the hill
where small rocks cluster
like a flock.
Moccasins tied to thick feet.
Her leggins dangle like puffin beaks.
She is from the north now.
Her dress fishskin.
Wooden snow goggles with slits for eyes.
Her mouth shriveled to a cedar berry
she speaks through the blue opening
in her head.
Her brittle dress crackles and her voice.
laughs with narrow vision
and her small words say to me
From Offering: Poetry and Prose (1988). Used with permission of the author.

Read more poetry by Diane Glancy